And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee.
No man is an island by John Donne
Wild Nights – Wild Nights!
Were I with thee
Wild Nights should be
Futile – the winds –
To a heart in port –
Done with the compass –
Done with the chart!
Rowing in Eden –
Ah, the sea!
Might I moor – Tonight –
Wild Nights—Wild Nights! (249) by Emily Dickinson
A woman with a scarf over her head hoists her six-year-old up onto the first step of the school bus. “Good-bye,” she says.
A father on the phone with his freshman son has just finished bawling him out for his poor grades. There is mostly silence at the other end of the line. “Well, good-bye,” the father says.
When the girl at the airport hears the announcement that her plane is starting to board, she turns to the boy who is seeing her off. “I guess this is good-bye,” she says.
The noise of the traffic almost drowns out the sound of the word, but the shape of it lingers on the old man’s lips. He tries to look vigorous and resourceful as he holds out his hand to the other old man. “Good-bye.” This time they say it so nearly in unison that it makes them both smile.
It was a long while ago that the words God be with you disappeared into the word good-bye, but every now and again some trace of them still glimmers through.
~Frederick Buechner originally published in Whistling in the Dark and later in Beyond Words
I’ve been thinking about this for a while. Today is the day. As this blog ends I am so grateful for these past years.
I will creating new things. I believe in poetry….it is foundational in my life and healing.
I will do at least one last post to redirect those interested to my new spaces in the world.
I leave you with a most exciting quote from my friend Peter Block:
Every time we walk into a room the future walks in with us!
Empty-handed, no explanation.
After three nights of not sleeping,
Three nights of listening for
His footsteps, His mules sliding
Deftly under my bed, I stand
At the stove, giving him my back,
Wearing the same tight, tacky dress, same slip,
Same seamed stockings I’d put on before He left.
He leans on the kitchen table, waiting
For me to make him His coffee.
I watch the water boil,
Refuse to turn around,
Wonder how to leave Him.
Woman, He slurs, when have I ever done
What you wanted me to do?
Reason by Robin Coste Lewis
Get off my back, God.
Take your claws out of my shoulder.
I’d like to throw you off
like I would brush off some particularly repellent insect!
Sometimes I get the feeling that if I could turn round
I would see you
grinning at me,
full of glee, plotting, scheming, devious, challenging
The hell with all this stuff about fire and storm
and still, quiet waters.
I’ve got your number.
I’ve unmasked you.
I’d like to throw you off
like I would brush off some
particularly repellent insect.
You’re a daemon!
Unfortunately, you seem to have this great attachment
Actually, being honest, I know in my heart
I’d miss you if you weren’t there,
leering at me, reminding me of death and dread and destiny,
winding me up and puncturing
I know, with a sinking feeling in my gut
that all the best of me
– the fire and storm,
and even, now and then, still waters,
are born out of the death-defying struggle
that we wage,
my dearest daemon.
Wresting With God by Kathy Galloway
I didn’t ask for this,
in fact, I believe I tried to block it,
avoid it at all costs.
But here I am feeling
facing my bittersweet days.
Wondering where the hell
this is gonna take me?
What is my purpose here?
where I lived my experiment for 5 years?
what was taken
and I am not sure what to do with it…
light it up
burn it down?
all I know is this is the place
I have been called to
at this moment
for only God knows what,
and He’s not talking,
hasn’t shown his face in weeks.
I must rely on this silly sliver of a promise,
that it is meant for my good
Trust is a ruthless business,
an extreme proposition to live.
I am not leaning to my own understanding,
or natural desires,
even a bitty-bit,
or I definitely wouldn’t be right here
– right now
or anytime in the future.
Yet here I am,
standing on this holiest of my profane grounds,
way out in the back forty
of thecomfort zone,
knowing beyond knowing,
I’m in the only place
I’m supposed to be
This is where the magic happens.
Amy Lloyd (AL)
God wants to encounter you with His love, so you can become a light everywhere you go, your life will shout to the world, ‘I’ve seen Him, I’ve felt Him. I’ve heard His voice. He is alive. He is here with us. In us. For us.’
On Dec 3, 2014 (2 year anniversary of my living death in the dark night of the soul, I got a post titled Love never Dies from Jen Lemen at Hopeful World http://hopefulworld.org
Here’s a taste of what it said:
I am struck also as I write to you from this wintery desk, that building our capacity for stillness helps so much when the wild comes to our restless souls. Without that practice of being quiet, it’s easy to be scared when our wild, instinctual thoughts pop up. It’s easy to think that they are bad somehow or in need of corralling. But the practice of quiet and stillness helps us recognize our instinctual knowing for what it is: a call to our most true nature. A call to a kind of expression that is more vibrant, more textured, more passionate, more alive–even if it’s a little bit messy. Even if it kicks up a little bit of shame that we are this human, this raw.
So I invite you today to sit with me for three magic minutes. I’ll be right here with you, my own mind a rollercoaster of crazy, of frantic, of nonsensical worrisome things. I’ll sit with you and notice everything in my own soul, while you notice everything in yours and together we will begin to knit together an understanding of what’s underneath that noise: a gorgeous, exquisite tapestry of human longing designed to carry us to an awake magnificent place.
Will you join me?
Setting the timer now.
Let me know how it is on the other side.
With so much love,
It’s now 3.5 years later and Jen Lemen is still bringing all that, and more to me, to you, to the shaky, hoping world, to the edges of eternity…love never dies.
Today, in this crazy, brutal brutal place, where we ask…
how can these two people be our Presidential choices?
how can people keep killing other people?
how can I deal with the grief and the fear of this?
how can I help?
what is the solution?
what is my part?
Jen Lemen is doing her part. She’s offering Soul Snacks – http://www.thewayofdevotion.org/soul-snacks
Amazing gifts to all of of struggling, hungry, hurting, angry, frustrated pilgrims and poets.
Right now she has open enrollment and I have just this…
Don’t wait! http://www.thewayofdevotion.org/soul-snacks
Gobble this up, savor it a bite at a time, eat them from start to finish, or nibble from the middle to each edge of crust. Savory, delectable soul-spices involving all your most subtle senses. http://www.thewayofdevotion.org/soul-snacks
Keep wrestling, burn, scream, let go, melt, let your heart keep breaking for the sake of your heart, keep saying the names of your people, fiercely defend your tenderness, think, grieve, repair, renew, continue to do what’s in your heart to do…each thread matters…each color makes the world more beautiful…
in the end, only love is eternal, only love remains… http://www.thewayofdevotion.org/soul-snacks
We are God’s thread
weaving through the tapestry,
the masterpiece is slowly
Potential for beauty, we can’t know,
it makes the sun squint
and reach for sunglasses.
Brilliance so far beyond ourselves
we go shining into the gray
as we open to the new jewels appearing,
sparkling in the moonlight.
As we step into the needle’s eye
the angels catch their breath,
cheering our blazing garments,
dazzled by the vision
God is revealing through the creation.
As we surrender to the greatest mystery,
the beauty we inhabit
walking in humble clay
eyes out shining the stars
set in the heavens.
Until we totally disappear and all that’s left
all we can do
bow in wonder
and give thanks
as the silk thread
becomes liquid gold and silver
pure and simple
as we realize our place in the whole.
We are the temple of our creator.
The home of God.
As deftly and finally as one pulls out a thread
someone is weaving them, gracefully tying them,
minute and irreversible.
In the towering sky, even under the fortress,
root tendrils muscle in and bind ligaments
through an abyss we had been told was absolute.
No enormity of terror
can keep up
with the steady, unseen healing.
Before the assault, the horrible wound,
gaping and exposed,
the stitching has already begun.
Even as we sigh in our own world,
moving on, separate,
we are being sewn in.
In the earthquake, the collapsing mountains,
not a bit of rubble falls
on the path from the temple.
If you could hold your immortal soul
in your hands, you would hardly recognize it
from one moment to the next.
Your grave is already empty.
Better to live your life open rather than exist on borrowed time, waiting for the great unmasking.
– Kate Jacobs
love is the flame
all people yearn for the flame
some people never discover there actually is a flame
some people ignore the flame
some people avoid the flame
some people examine the flame
some people research the flame
some people control the flame
some people fear the flame
some people are fooled by fake flame
some people admire the flame
some people use the flame
some people walk on the flame
some people dance with the flame
some people dance in the flame
some people become the flame
some people are consumed by the flame
how will you burn?
Those who are drawn to the root of love are mystics. Mystics are not satisfied with the surface patterns of love, with the emotional tangles and insecurities of human loving. They seek a purer wine, a more potent passion. They need the essence of love, its divine substance.
~ Irina Tweedie
On the day I died
water ran through pipes,
footsteps identified people in the house and
the dogs nails clicked quickly on the wood floors above my head,
insisting it was time to go out for relief.
I still needed coffee,
light with cream,
The sun was bright
and I remember the sky was that deep blue,
romantically named, azurite.
There was cockscomb,
half alive in pots near the wooden footbridge I walked over.
I used to love them when I was alive.
I touched their red, velvety, blooms seeking to feel something.
I mistook fluttering angel wings for birds,
just beyond where I lay
on the words of Wendell Berry –
the only thread
keeping me tethered to this world.
I sat on benches beside ghosts
of those who had gone before me.
I could still only feel them beside me,
I was in the world between worlds.
There was darkness, a fire swamp, screaming, clashes of swords,
I could not save myself.
God was everywhere.
I found myself in a boat,
where I stayed for 2 years, until,
in recent weeks,
the call came to step out,
to start walking on water.
Late in the day,
I stood in the bathroom,
accepting the most insulting job offer I have ever received,
then sat on a stool,
trying to act as if I was alive,
pretending to look for puzzle pieces,
slightly aware of the colors and shapes,
singing echoes of songs I used to love,
with my beautiful Robin,
who seemed very much alive.
In Memoriam of my death, consumed by the flame,
December 3, 2012 –
may I be remembered as
Daniel J O’Connell having the:
Spirit of a warrior
Soul of a poet
Irradiat your mind with the light from within, allow your existence to move along within the unbroken continuity of nature. The ideal of authenticity lies deep in the heart of one’s union to the world not the possession of it. The grandeur of unity holds a definitive place in the infinite. When you calibrate your spirit with that of the world you are left open to respond to your life harmoniously with the universe. Unmask your illusions from those artificial ideas you have build your lives upon with walls and boundaries solidifying your thoughts about a tragic disassociation to nature. It’s up to you to be open now or wait for the great unmasking…the choice is yours but unmasking now allows you to reconcile your existence while you still have the chance to live it.
– Lissette T. Hesmadt
We have known and have believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and those who remain in love remain in God and God remains in them. 1 John 4:16
No matter the results and outcomes,
the thousand possibilities,
you are here now.
Why even try to trace
what the beggar will do with your money?
Let your giving be the whole horizon.
Be lovingly present
and wars and stars and grief and cats alike
will be unable to trouble you.
At the center of the world and in each breath
this is the holy temple, the birthing moment:
giving and receiving love. That is all.
This is the sacred point,
the love in you
meeting the love in the world.
However broken or weary you are,
LIGHT AND DARKNESS
When we are touched by the presence of sacred wonder, we do not suddenly run away from the darkness and pretend that it does not exist. Nor do we try to explain away the darkness or become lost in angst over questioning how such darkness can possibly exist. Rather, seeing the greater divine light even a little, we start to see how our delusions only cause ourselves and others such suffering. This growing realization can then begin to slowly open our hearts to compassion and love, both for ourselves and for all other beings who toil in the darkness, caught in cycles of pain, fear, and ignorance. From this love also comes a growing commitment to fight the delusions and the darkness and to serve the light however we can. Indeed, each one of us can fight the darkness in our own ways and in our own time.
First, we can begin to fight our own delusions and grow spiritually as best we can. We can work toward our own awakening and strive to gain our own growing clarity of vision that allows us to see more and more the delusions for what they are and to see, beyond the delusions, the boundless preciousness of all life, including our own. We cannot truly begin to help others and the world until we begin to clear the clouds from our own eyes. And to do this, we need to start cultivating an open heart of loving-kindness for all life. The true end of suffering comes with the dawning of a deep wisdom that sees the transient, impermanent veneer, but also sees the very present and real luminous spiritual reality that flows through all of us. This requires a commitment to fight first our own intolerance, cruelty, arrogance, anger, and hatred. Change must start in our own hearts and minds and must start with exercising kindness towards ourselves and to those around us in our daily lives.
Second, we can work to not add to the darkness in our own corner of the world and work instead to shed whatever light we can, even if it is only in the small interactions with others in our daily lives. Our everyday interactions, no matter how humble, can call forth the divine light into our own lives and those around us, when we act with a kind and loving intention. It is certainly wonderful when good people affect positive change on a community wide or larger basis in society. Such efforts need to be supported and commended. But not all of us are always in a position to affect larger societal change. This does not stop us,however, from working quietly in our small corner of the world, bringing light to our own lives and bringing some light to those around us. Such efforts are not to be put down, but have infinite significance. Even a few lights in a darkened city shed beauty and wonder.
Indeed, the light of love, no matter how small, makes a difference, and the world will be healed only when all of the small corners are filled with light and love. And that will happen only when each of us makes that effort where we stand in the moment in our daily lives.
m.facebook.com at simpleinnertruths
on the edge of flying.
the verge of breaking through
standing in the pouring rain
hoping to find you,
somewhere in the darkness
of this dark and stormy night,
questions with no answers
colliding with the light.
bloody battles all around,
I’m caught within my pain.
holding on to faith in something
in the middle of this fight.
at the end of living
not knowing what to do,
tears, they match the weather
flooding from my soul.
I shake my head for clearing,
prepare my heart to fight,
struggle to my aching feet
step into the ring of light.
death lies all around me,
as I pray this simple prayer,
release me for a moment,
there’s work for me to do.
For the dulness that encloses me I pray
your grace burn off the morning fog.
That the dream of doubt I wear like clothes
I pray may in your light dissolve, and fall away.
For healing of the wound that is a world that is a wall
find more amazement from Tyler Spangler @ http://tylerspangler.com
I reason, Earth is short — And Anguish — absolute — And many hurt, But, what of that?
I reason, we could die — The best Vitality Cannot excel Decay, But, what of that?
I reason that in Heaven — Somehow, it will be even — Some new Equation, given — But, what of that?
I reason, Earth is short… (301) by Emily Dickinson
I sink back upon the ground, expecting to die. A voice speaks out of my ear, You are not going to die, you are being changed into a zebra. You will have black and white stripes up and down your back and you will love people as you do not now. That is why you will be changed into a zebra that people will tame and exhibit in a zoo. You will be a favorite among children and you will love the children in return whom you do not love now. Zoo keepers will make a pet of you because of your round, sad eyes and musical bray, and you will love your keeper as you do not now. All is well, then, I tell myself silently, listening to the voice in my ear speak to me of my future. And what will happen to you, voice in my ear, I ask silently, and the answer comes at once: I will be your gentle, musical bray that will help you as a zebra all your days. I will mediate between the world and you, and I will learn to love you as a zebra whom I did not love as a human being.
I sink back upon the ground… by David Ignatow
In “Farewell to Arms” Ernest Hemingway wrote, “The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry.”